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Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS)

Uniform Relocation Assistance & Real Property Acquisition Acts

Reference Number: MTAS-1325
Reviewed Date: 10/05/2023

The Federal Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act of 1970 [1] was enacted for the purpose of providing fair and equitable treatment of persons displaced as a result of federal and federally assisted programs, [2] as well as consistent treatment of owners during the actual land acquisition. [3] The provisions of the act are mandatory and apply to any public agency that administers programs supported at least in part by federal funds. The act consists of three subchapters: (1) General Provisions, which defines terms used in the act; [4] (2) Uniform Relocation Assistance, which is concerned with moving and related expenses, replacement housing payments, relocation assistance advisory services, and the federal share of the cost of such payments and services; [5] and (3) Uniform Real Property Acquisition Policy, which sets out the procedures to be followed in acquiring real property. [6]

In 1972, Tennessee enacted the Uniform Relocation Assistance Act of 1972, which generally followed the provisions of the federal act and had the effect of making relocation assistance and land acquisition procedures mandatory for any projects conducted by state agencies or supported by state financial assistance. T.C.A. §§ 13-11-101 et seq. The Tennessee act was amended in 1980 to also include any projects by a municipality or a county that received federal or state financial assistance.

Land acquisition procedures are of considerable importance to attorneys representing condemners or condemnees. The federal government has promulgated government wide regulations for real property acquisition, [7] which have been adopted by reference by such agencies as the Tennessee Valley Authority, [8] the Environmental Protection Agency, [9] and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. [10]

[1] 42 U.S.C. §§ 4601 et seq.

[2] 42 U.S.C. § 4621.

[3] 42 U.S.C. § 4651.

[4] 42 U.S.C. §§ 4601 through 4604.

[5] 42 U.S.C. §§ 4621 through 4638.

[6] 42 U.S.C. §§ 4651 through 4655.

[7] 49 CFR §§ 24.101 et seq.

[8] 18 CFR §§ 1306 et seq.

[9] 40 CFR § 4.1.

[10] 24 CFR § 42.1.